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Christianity without Paul

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Shermana, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    What would the "Christian" religion be without Paul's epistles?
     
  2. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    Something very different. We have very few writings from the early period of the Jesus movement, and whether one likes him or not, Paul is a valuable source in knowing how the movement began, and evolved in the early years.

    Now, are we assuming that Paul never wrote anything, or that his writings were lost? Because that would also make a difference.
     
  3. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    10,814
    Paul is a valuable source in knowing how one particular branch began, the Nazarenes and Ebionites from what is written, were in bitter opposition to him. Additionally, several of the epistles traditionally attributed to him are being exposed as psuedipigrapha, such as the Pastorals which even the Syrian Orthodox church discluded from Canon back in the day.

    I'm not assuming Paul didn't write what he wrote, but there are minority opinions, including those like Edgar Goodspeed, who say Corinthians is a compilation of other writings, and some even say he may have not written Galatians, but that's another story.

    So when you say "something very different", that's exactly what I'm saying, going by the Gospels alone (including the fragments of things like Gospel to the Hebrews/Nazoreans), we have a "very different" religion. We have "Jewish Christianity".
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  4. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Well-Known Member

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    That's a speculative position. We simply don't know enough about the dissention among early christians, particularly during Paul's time when christianity wasn't distinct from judaism, to say what the relation was betwen Paul and certain other groups like the Ebionites.

    If you are including other "gospels," then we would have something even less like Judaism than mainstream christianity. Some of the other gospels regarded the Jewish god as more or less equivalent to Satan/the devil.
     
  5. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    Saying anything about anything is going by a speculative position, Iraneus's depictions of the Jewish Christian "Cerinthus" is contradictory to others, he titles him "Gnostic", yet his views are little if anything like the Sethians. Nonetheless, what we can tell from some of the writings is that part of the accusations against them was that the Ebionites and Nazarenes specifically rejected Paul's epistles.


    Not all of them. Some of them. The Yaldabaoth stuff started around the end of the 2nd century, and it distinct from the stuff like Gospel of Philip. Sethians and Orphites and such anti-Jewish leaning "Gnostics" were a phenemenon that started fairly long afterwards. The problem is that "Gnostics" as a whole got lump summed together even though their own "Gospels' often were nothing like various other apocrypha that was dubbed "Gnostic". What we do know is that Jerome and others attributed Matthew as a rewrite of an earlier book called "Gospel to the Hebrews". I personally go by Gospel of Philip (which is heavily Jewish, pro-Sabbath, etc), and there is nothing like the stuff in Gospel of Judas in it. Likewise with Acts of Peter. Even things like the "Apostolic Constitutions" are proof of a heavily Jewish influenced association. Even Clement refers to the Law as binding it seems. The so-called "Pseudo-clementine literature" paint a picture of a heavily Jewish group, and F.C. Baur and the Tubingen school among many others were very confident that "Simon Magus" was code-word for Paul in them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  6. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Well-Known Member

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    True enough, but some theories are more speculative than others.

    ,
    The term "gnostic" is a modern construction. Iraneus uses it (or rather gnostikos) as this fits the title of his work, in which he accuses others of false gnosis.
    Quite. Which is why "gnosticism" is an umbrella term, so wide that M. A. Williams argued the term should be abandoned as it has no meaning.

    What we can tell is that the "gospel of the ebionites" was written by in Greek, and therefore probably by hellenized Jews. Also, it was likely based on the synoptic gospels. But our knowledge is limited to a few quotations and descritions from authors who wrote over a century after Paul was dead.

    The Nazarenes are a different story. It is hard to differentiate "Nazarenes" as followers of Jesus of Nazareth from the group said to be responsible for the gospel of the Nazarenes.

    That's what I said.

    Not really. The gospel of philip mentions archons, and other things to indicate that same line of thought: "The world came into being through an error. For he who created it intended to create it imperishable and immortal. He failed to obtain his hope." (99).
    "The archons wanted to decieve the humans because they saw that he was kindred to the truly good ones. They took the name of the good ones and gave it to those that are not good." There is a great deal of suggestion in the gospel of philip of the anti-jewish cosmology in which the original Jewish gods and angels are deceivers of mankind.
     
  7. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    10,814
    One question, which translation of Gospel of Philip are you using? Verse 99 does not say the world was created through error in this one and I can't seem to find it. And it uses "Authorities" instead of "Archons" such as in your quote of verse 13. But the concept of "archons" nonetheless can still corrolate directly to fallen angels such as in Apocalypse of Peter which is not as "Gnostic" in the Sethian sense either. Also, there's a matter of how you're interpreting the "failed to accomplish" the immortal and perfect world....that was kind of the intention of the Garden of Eden for example. It's not quite at all like the idea of Yaldobaoth at least IMO.

    Look at this passage from verse 100:

    No Sethian-style Gnostic text would give any respect to the Torah like that.

    Here is verse 99 in this version.

    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]This world devours corpses[/FONT]—[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]furthermore, those[/FONT] [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]who eat in it themselves die. The true (person) consumes life—therefore no one nourished in [the truth shall] die. Yeshúa came from within that place, and he brought nourishment from there. And to those whom he wished he gave their lives, so that they not perish.

    http://www.metalog.org/files/philip.html




    [/FONT]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  8. Dirty Penguin

    Dirty Penguin Master Of Ceremony

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    Judaism......;)
     
    SageTree likes this.
  9. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    We have a winner. Except as we've seen from certain threads here, the term "Judaism" seems to apply to Rabbinicists and they don't like it being applied to anything less as if it's trademarked.
     
  10. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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    Ding ding ding :D
     
  11. dan p

    dan p New Member

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    Hi and you are right on !!

    Pull all of Paul espistles out , from Romans through Hebrews and all that is left is Judaism , dan p
     
  12. Thorbjorn

    Thorbjorn Þórsmaðr Staff Member Premium Member

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    It would be Christian and not Pauline.
     
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  13. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Well-Known Member

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    I have the original coptic text, but my knowledge of coptic is pitiful. So I have several other translations.

    Well I can't give you my translations, but I found one online which is pretty similar:The Gospel of Philip -- The Nag Hammadi Library. Just search for "the world came about through a mistake."

    Coptic is egyptian, but it adapted not only the Greek alphabet but also a large number of greek vocabulary. "Archon" is one such word. The archons are a part of the gnostic cosmology present in more radical anti-jewish "gnostic" texts."

    . But the concept of "archons" nonetheless can still corrolate directly to fallen angels such as in Apocalypse of Peter which is not as "Gnostic" in the Sethian sense either. Also, there's a matter of how you're interpreting the "failed to accomplish" the immortal and perfect world....that was kind of the intention of the Garden of Eden for example. It's not quite at all like the idea of Yaldobaoth at least IMO.



    It's a different part than the lines I referred to. One difficulty is that the text is deliberately obscure. So while "reading into it" is required, it is also problematic.
     
  14. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    I don't think that Christianity could exist without the *epistles* of St. Paul. The epistles give focus to both "orthodox" and "unorthodox" Christian teachings that the Gospels simply do not have.

    Without the Pauline corpus, there simply would be no Christian church.
     
  15. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    I have to disagree with all of this.

    Paul certainly played an important part; however, he was not the only player. Before Paul, there was already a movement that was going. Paul was part of that movement, he just went a different direction (it should be noted that Paul was still under the watch of the Jerusalem church, which could have kicked him out, yet they didn't).

    The Jesus movement would have been kicked out of Judaism regardless of Paul or not. When Rabbinical Judaism was centralizing it's power, all other forms of Judaism were rejected. Christianity was one of those forms of Judaism that was rejected. So the Jesus movement still would have been rejected by Judaism anyway.

    More so, Paul was hardly the only one furthering a gentile movement. Peter was even said to have ministered to gentiles to point. Paul also mentions other missionaries in his work, that were preaching to the same groups that he was. So we have clear indication that there was a gentile movement within the Jesus movement.

    Then we would still have some of the epistles we do today anyway. Even if we ignore the pseudo-Pauline works, we have Hebrews (which never claims to be Paul), as well as the Epistles of John, James, etc. So most likely, Christianity would be different, but maybe not for the better.

    Not to mention that even the Gospels have (especially John) somewhat of an anti-Jewish look. Then move onto Luke and Acts, we see a clear departure from Judaism. Even in Acts, before they really talk about Paul, we begin to see a departure from Judaism.

    Not to mention that Paul most likely didn't completely create Christianity (even though his works do give us the beliefs that the movement had at that time, or at least to a point). We see other working in the same area as well. Paul is just remembered so much because we have his writings.

    So to sum up, no, I can't see Christianity having been just Judaism even if we didn't have Paul's writings, or even if Paul hadn't existed. Christianity may not have taken off (even though it still did so slowly anyway) like it did, and maybe it would have ceased to exist after the Temple was destroyed, but it wouldn't have continued as part of Judaism either.
     
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  16. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    According to Acts though, Paul was part of he Nazarenes (and interestingly enough, that is the only mention of the group. We don't really hear about them until the 4th century, so we know very little about them).

    And even then, the Jerusalem church, the continuation of the Jesus movement, were not necessarily opposed to Paul. In fact, if they wanted to, they could have simply rejected Paul, and kicked him out of the movement. Yet, even though there were a few disagreements (and Paul seems to be upset with them, yet he doesn't really say anything bad about them), they were inline with each other. The Jerusalem church supported Paul, even if there were some stipulations.


    But I do agree we would have something different. A Christianity more focused on the Jewish background, or as you said, a "Jewish Christianity" probably would be the outcome. However, it could have also been a gnostic form that popped up instead. Without the Epistles of Paul being in the canon, one would figure they would be replaced by something else. This would mean something later in date, and probably less Jewish anyway, as the movement became less and less Jewish as time went on, especially after the destruction of the Temple.
     
  17. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    Christianity without Paul?!:eek:

    but but but but but that would only be...?! What Jesus said!

    don´t you get bored?

    You gotta add it something. :(
     
    Shermana likes this.
  18. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds New Member

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    ^^ This ^^

    Most likely a small sect of Judaism in my opinion. Without Paul the Romans would never have converted.
     
  19. waitasec

    waitasec New Member

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    maybe there wouldn't be a christian religion without paul...
     
  20. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
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